Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Long-ago pledge leads Hernando seniors to graduate

BROOKSVILLE — Four years ago, Dylan Wilson and the rest of Hernando High School's freshmen class gathered in the school's auditorium to hear successful seniors encourage them to work hard for four years.

The students signed a big banner committing to graduating from the school, and they all received a green plastic wristband as a visual reminder of that pledge.

Fast forward to this year.

Assistant principal Angela Miller recently rewarded the seniors who held on to those green encouragement symbols with a congratulatory breakfast of breakfast sandwiches, fruit and doughnuts. "I really wanted to recognize the ones who kept it (the green wristband) as a symbol," she said, "because when we had the ceremony we made it a symbol of commitment."

Dylan, now 18, was at that breakfast. He has his wristband and is graduating on time. Four years ago he said he was quite sure he would graduate and was already planning to join the United States Air Force to become an officer and a pilot.

He has tweaked that a bit. "I still plan to go into the Air Force," he said, "but as enlisted for air traffic control or cyber security." He is looking at the military as a career.

As for the wristband, he has had for all his high school years, "I look at it every day to remind myself to get my high school diploma to get into the Air Force and serve my country," he said. He says he will probably hold on to it or "maybe give it to my brother, because he starts high school next year."

Brenykah Munford, 19, also at the breakfast, thought back to the original pledge and said, "It made me realize that I want to make something of my life and go for and be a better person and change the world with knowledge." Brenykah plans to attend the University of Central Florida to study massage therapy.

Graduating senior Blakely Keeling, 18, said, "At first I thought it was just a silly little armband. But now, four years later, it sinks in. Now it's bigger than that. You're going out into the world."

Blakely added that he looked at the wristband from time to time over the years. "I'd open my drawer and it would remind me of what I could do," he said. "If I can commit to graduating high school, I can commit to graduating college."

He says he will probably keep the wristband in "a china cabinet, keep it around so when I go to college, I can see it."

Blakely plans to begin college at Pasco-Hernando State College and transfer to the University of South Florida or the University of Florida to study heath science.

"Eventually I want to get my doctorate in physical therapy. I want to help people," he said. "That's what I look forward to."

Kayla Hill, 18, said the green wristband "really made me want success more. I'm probably going to put it with all my graduation stuff." Kayla plans to attend Pasco-Hernando State College, transfer to a university and study medicine. She would like to be a doctor.

For Zoe Lerkins, 17, the wristband was "just something I wanted to keep just to have for my whole high school career. I'm going to keep it with my high school mementos and wear it to my class reunion," she said.

Zoe plans to attend Finger Lakes Community College in New York and then attend Rochester University or St. John Fisher University in New York. "I want to be a pediatric nurse practitioner," she said.

Aaliyah Mobley, 18, said, "The green band came to mean over the years that my teachers and staff really wanted me to graduate and become something good in life. I'm definitely going to keep it to remind me of the great experiences I had in high school and, if I have kids, maybe pass it on to them."

Aaliyah plans to attend Saint Leo University or Oral Roberts University for nursing and then a clinical psychology degree.

Assistant principal Angel Miller said she thinks the program has made a difference. "I think it has a ripple effect. I think there is an element of pride and accomplishment attached to it," she said. "The students realized it gave them a little more individualized attention. "I'm very thrilled with the program And I'm happy with what it's done."

Long-ago pledge leads Hernando seniors to graduate 05/24/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 12:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102